My condemnation of PETA in my last post created a bit of confusion that I’d like to clear up: I didn’t intend to give anyone the impression that animal welfare causes in general are not worth supporting because they’re all corrupt. And I don’t believe that such overall worthy organizations as the ASPCA should lose support because they’ve made some mistakes.
I do think, however, that it’s useful to steer people away from charities that don’t deserve donations when there are so many others that do.
I was also surprised that commenters should be surprised that I have no problem with dissenting opinions on this blog. I’m here to learn as well as, I hope, to teach, so I especially like when commenters provide links to support those opposition points of view. I do draw the line at ad hominem (or feminem) attacks or name calling of any sort. So far I’ve never had to delete any comments but I wouldn’t have a problem with it. It’s always fun to wield a little power.
Oh yeah, and if you say anything mean about Frankie, you’re outta here. For good.
Without further ado, then:
Why my money won’t be going to HSUS
They are wasteful
My annoyance with HSUS started, as with PETA, on a purely personal level, in this case because they kept sending me stuff, unsolicited, even though I had never donated to them. I am as susceptible to guilt as the next person — okay, more so — but even I draw the line at being manipulated into donating because I got a tote bag and a pair of gloves that I didn’t ask for in the first place.
Don’t even get me started on those Sara Mclachlan commercials that make me cry in spite of my being irritated over how much it must cost to air them. They’re also misleading in suggesting that the money that is donated will go to shelters that help save animals (more on which in a bit). Update: Oops I goofed here; that Sara McLachlan commercial is for the ASPCA. At least I didn’t construct an entire rant post around the error, as a Canadian blogger did here.
They are control freaks about criticism
HSUS has an “Emerging Media Manager, Online Communications” person on staff to monitor tweets and blogs that mention them. This is not only another expenditure that is not being directed towards animals, but it’s also disturbingly Big Brotherish.
I know this because:
— A while back, when I tweeted about being annoyed that I received unsolicited stuff in the mail, I got an answering tweet from HSUS that I could always send it back if I didn’t want it. (Yeah, good idea — so you not only want to manipulate me into donating, but if that annoys me I can also waste my time and money with a trip to the post office.)
— When, in my recent post, I alluded to the fact that I was going to explain why I had a problem with HSUS, I received an email that said:
I read your recent blog post which briefly mentioned the HSUS, and I wanted to reach out and touch base to see if you have any questions about our work. While our website is a great resource to seeing what we do on a daily basis, there are a lot of stories behind the scenes of the other work we do to help animals that isn’t on such a large scale. I’d be happy to answer and address any concerns you might have; your blog was very interesting to read!
While it’s true that this note is benign, even friendly, and flattery usually gets you everywhere with me, I found the idea that someone has a job seeking out and addressing criticisms of HSUS — or in my case, heading it off — on blogs like mine very creepy. As far as I can tell, the only power I wield extends to fantasies of deleting mean comments about Frankie.
So much has been written about the deal with the devil that HSUS made by enlisting NFL star Michael Vick, convicted head of a dogfighting ring and personal dog executor, to serve as their spokesperson that I’m not going to reiterate it here. I’ll just summarize the two main problems:
— It sends a terrible message about it being okay to harm animals if you pretend to regret it afterwards so you can play sports again. (See Michael Vick Makes Me Sick)
— The HSUS raised money on the promise of protecting the Vick dogs while recommending that they be euthanized. (See Humane Society of the United States is Morally Compromised)
It has been argued by HSUS that the sites that criticize them, especially the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) which I linked to, have their own, nefarious agendas, that the CCF is a corporate shill for the Food and Beverage industry. That’s true. It doesn’t make the information they’ve presented and provided supporting documentation for any less accurate.
The real problem is that HSUS is …
Encouraging confusing & inaccurate association with local humane societies
HSUS has a tendency to turn up at rescue efforts, such as that done after Hurricane Katrina, after local humane societies have done all the work and take credit — and raise funds. This is bad enough in itself but what’s worse is that when the HSUS does something wrong, all local organizations with the term “Humane Society” in their name are tarred with the same brush. And donations dry up. The problem is outlined in this article that my twitter pal Mel Freer (@MelzPetPals) sent me.
That’s it. I understand and appreciate that HSUS does a lot of good; so do other organizations that don’t waste as much money or have as many problems. So I’ll leave you with this shout and reminder: NO SHELTERS, SANCTUARIES, OR POUNDS ARE RUN BY OR AFFILIATED WITH HSUS. This means that other animal assistance organizations can and should be judged individually. Go visit the shelters and sanctuaries in your city or state. Read local reporting. Volunteer if you don’t have money.
And one thing you can do that’s extremely easy — and free: Click on The Animal Rescue Site every day. It’s a great way to support the worthy organizations that help animals.